This is Part 2 of a 3 part series. To see more pictures please visit Portraits of Wwoofers In Tuscany (Todd & Benita) Part 1.
I made some great friends on the farm – people I feel I will have a connection with for a long, long time. Two of these people were Esther and Chen. Esther is from Washington state and she was embarking on a year of wwoofing in Europe to study wine making. She was so ecstatic about the entire process that I gave her a nickname – “Respect for the Grape, Passion for the Vine”. She was the go-to person for all of us “Wine for Dummies” wwoofers on the farm. She had been working with grapes and wine for years and was a sprouting source of knowledge on the farm. To top it off, she was just plain awesome. We bonded almost instantaneously after we spent some late nights on the farm – it was like she had been my friend for years. We had several portraits session ideas planned out for her but the weather turned rainy and we spent many days working late hours – these two things caused most of those ideas to go unrealized, which was a real bummer.
Fortunately in the wine cellar there were huge, old oak barrels with painted red rims. The light was from one single bulb in the ceiling. The first day I walked in that room I almost died just from the beauty of it and I knew I would take some photos in there. It just so happened we ended our work days in the cellar so it was an easy location for photos. Esther and I ran in there early one day and shot some photos for maybe 10 – 15 mins before everybody else came in. I couldn’t get my flash to bounce right and so I settled on staying very still and using the one ceiling light. I LOVE the results. Some of them really remind me of a Vermeer painting – the dark background and oak barrels are so rich. Esther is a beautiful person from the inside out – she could have easily been a model for any of the master painters throughout time.
Chen was from Israel and became another great friend on the farm. We spent a lot of time chatting and laughing in the vineyards about life, Israel and other totally random topics. He also happens to be an extremely funny person and he always had me and everyone else cracking up about something. Chen also saved me from a giant fire ball coming out of the stove and from a runaway goat – Thanks Chen! Our photo taking sessions started after I told him that in the early morning light of our bedroom (we all shared one big bedroom) he looked like Jesus. After a bit of silence which left me wondering if I had said something wrong he asked if I would take a photo of what I saw the next morning. Esther, Chen & I all have the bad habit of sleeping in late and the next morning we all woke up at the same time and I took these photos right before we all rushed to get dressed and run down for breakfast. The photos have a very intimate quality about them that surprised everyone, including me when I looked at them later that day. They ultimately led to the “Jesus in Boots” portraits sessions throughout the farm – in the olive groves, in the chicken coop, in the vineyard. Given my affection for chickens, I think that one is my favorite from the entire series. Chen, like Esther, was a truly beautiful person and his eyes reflect many lifetimes of love.
I never thought when we signed up for wwoofing that I would meet such fantastic people or be able to photograph them. The time on the farm was really very special. Stay tuned for part 3, which features photos from everyone else we met!
*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me to ask first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!
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